BOSTON (TNS) - The 2018-19 Blues, a team once given up for dead, on Wednesday achieved hockey immortality.
The Blues completed the longest road back in hockey history with a 4-1 win over the Bruins at TD Garden, giving the franchise its first Stanley Cup in its 52-year existence. And they did it an unprecedented way, coming back from having the fewest points in the league on Jan. 3 to being a dominant team the final half of the season.
Ryan O'Reilly, who was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the most valuable player of the playoffs, and Alex Pietrangelo scored in the first period for the Blues and Brayden Schenn added an insurance goal with 8:35 to go in the third. Zach Sanford, who grew up in the area and went to Boston College, scored with 4:38 to play to put it further in the bag.
Jordan Binnington stopped the first 32 shots he faced, including 12 in the first period where Boston came strongly at him and could have scored more than once, before Matt Grzelcyk scored with 2:10 to play. In the third period, with the Blues protecting a 2-0 lead, he extended his right pad to stop a shot by Joakim Nordstrom that seem fated to make it 2-1.
After failing in their first chance to take the Cup on Sunday at home, the Blues went where they have done best for much of this season, the road. The Blues finished the playoffs with a 10-3 record on the road, tying the NHL record for most postseason wins on the road. In the Final, they won three of four games played at TD Garden.
Never great, usually good, always cursed, the Blues are the first team in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to be last in the standings at any point after the 30th game of the season and win the Stanley Cup.
With a massive crowd watching back in St. Louis, both in Enterprise Center and Busch Stadium, the franchise's years of suffering were finally rewarded. As the final horn sounded, it was rhapsody in blue.